Hartlepool money advice workers get ready for busiest day of year after festive splurging

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A leading Hartlepool advice service is gearing up for what it expects to be its busiest day of the year.

Citizens Advice Hartlepool is preparing to deal with more inquiries for help with debt and money management than any other day on Wednesday, January 18, in a post Christmas rush.

Joe Michna

Joe Michna

The service, in Park Road, Hartlepool, is expecting 200 people to come through the doors during January.

January 18 was its busiest day in 2016.

It expects the highest debt inquiries to be around credit cards, rent arrears, council tax arrears, personal loans and energy bills.

And it anticipates the most popular type of money-related queries will be to do with pensions and income tax.

Joe Michna, Citizens Advice Hartlepool manager, said: “January is a great time to take stock of your finances and think about your priorities for the future, not just for the next month but for the next year and beyond.

“Although many people will be focusing on their next paycheck after the busy Christmas period, people can also use the time to review whether they can save money on their bills or set a savings goal.

“Whether you’re looking to deal with debts, cut your costs or budget better, Citizens Advice can help you review your overall money situation so you can make decisions that improve your financial security.

“Don’t let debt problems linger, seek advice and guidance at the earliest opportunity.”

Analysis by the Citizens Advice nationally showed one person contacted their nearest office for help every 11 seconds and someone visited the website every three seconds last January.

Citizens Advice Hartlepool runs drop-in sessions every Monday, Wednesday, Thursday and Friday from 9.30am to 3pm.

CPeople can also contact Citizens Advice Hartlepool on (01429) 408401 or email: enquiries@hartlepoolcabnet.org.uk

Citizens Advice’s 8 top tips for your finances

1. Write a simple budget of your income and take away costs for essential bills.

Plan ahead how to use any left over or how to cut costs if there is nothing.

Use the online budget tool at citizensadvice.org.uk

2. Use the website’s comparison tool to see if you could save up to £300 by changing energy tariffs or suppliers.

3. Check you are claiming the right benefits. Visit the Citizens Advice website or www.gov.co.uk

4. Start saving, every penny counts.

5. Keep tabs on your bank overdraft. Sign up to free text alerts.

6. Be choosey about borrowing. There are different offers with credit cards and loans, from free balance transfers to being interest-free for the first few months.

7. Prioritise debts. Council tax and rent or mortgage have more serious consequences than say credit cards. Contact the advice service for help with this.

8. Pensions. If you are eligible for auto-enrolment, consider paying more than just the minimum. If you are over 50 and have a defined contribution pension you can get a free Pension Wise appointment to learn more about taking your pension.